The Forbidden City is a palace system in China, where the royal family of the Ming and Qing dynasties lived. With an area of 720,000 square metres, to this day Co Cung remains the largest remaining wooden palace in the world.
In the complex of mysterious and magnificent palaces, there is a park with elegant architecture called Kien Phuc Palace. Not many typical events take place in Qin Fuc Palace, but this place used to house a warehouse containing countless treasures from the Qing Dynasty.
In 1923, a mysterious fire erupted and set this palace ablaze, and countless calligraphy paintings, antique paintings, antique jade, Buddha statues, and handicrafts of all kinds… were reduced to ashes overnight.
Burning the Forbidden City and the inability of the Last Emperor
The fire was discovered at 21:00 on June 27, 1923, when one of the corners of the Forbidden City, at a height of more than 30 meters, was set ablaze. The fire spread quickly and lasted for more than 10 hours. Although several fire engines were mobilized, the fire was not actually put out until 7 a.m. the next morning.
Wherever the fire goes, the rubble goes. An estimated 2,665 golden Buddha statues, 435 antiques, 1,157 calligraphies and drawings, and tens of thousands of ancient books were burned in the blaze, the government’s Interior Ministry said. This loss cannot even be calculated with money.
Kien Phuc used to be the place to keep a huge collection of treasures before they got burned. Photo: Soho
Why is the Forbidden City burning? The direct cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but the root of the problem has long been known!
During the complicated years of the late Qing Dynasty and the period that followed, Puyi was still living in the Forbidden City but had no power in his hands. At this time, in the palace, the problem of theft was very painful.
It was Fu Njie who discovered that the furniture in the palace had been smuggled, from concubines to palace maids, eunuchs, no one was without stealing.
in notes “Half my previous life”, Emperor Pu Yi painfully recounted: “My teacher, Reginald Johnston, said that in the neighborhood where he lived, a lot of new antiques shops had been opened. These shops were said to have been opened by eunuchs or people from the Home Office, and it turns out that the people in the mansion are all lying.”
Before the theft problem, Pu Nghi was determined to open an inventory of treasures in the palace to expose the thieves. But the Chinese have a saying “After there is a thief, there will be a fire”And the Immediately after ordering a search of the Qin Fook Palace, someone set the palace on fire to hide his sin!
17,000 taels of gold in the ashes
After the great fire, people were quick to steal what remained of their treasures, from soldiers, government officials, and firefighters to high-status foreigners who were all robbed, creating an unprecedented moment in the world. Majestic history of the Forbidden City!
The scene of ruin in June 1923, after the burning of the Forbidden City. Photo: Soho
By early August, Puyi and the internal government planned to recruit more than 100 people to clean up the fire, but they found the cost too high, so they decided to transfer the right to handle the ashes to a large gold store in Beijing. This gold shop asked to buy back the ashes of Kin Fook Palace for 500,000 yuan (not a small number at the time).
At that time, people mocked the other shopkeeper for spending money to buy worthless things. But what they didn’t realize was that fire could only burn wooden furniture and calligraphy paper… and treasures made of gold could only melt. This gold shop collected a total of 17,000 taels of gold nuggets from the ash, which is a very high value.
Pho Nghi said that this gold was melted from 2,665 golden Buddha statues in the Kien Phuc Palace. It is hard to appreciate the value of these statues when they are intact!
Reference article from Sohu